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His Majesty Al-Sisi

The Egyptian citizen has the right, while watching the disaster in Alexandria, to ask: What has the Sisi regime done with the tens of billions it obtained as a prize for carrying out the coup?

Where have more than $41 billion in Gulf aid gone? These were documented in a leaked recording of conversations that took place between Al-Sisi and Abbas in 2013.

And where did the rest go, which came in the subsequent two years, in addition to billions more which Egyptians pumped in to funds and bonds as demanded by Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi? And where have the funds confiscated and seized and held as a result of piracy measures enacted by the thieving state against private companies and properties gone?

They say that the governor of Alexandria, Al-Ta’ir, demanded several million Egyptian pounds before the disaster struck in order to renovate the miserable infrastructure in the gem of the Mediterranean but no one listened to him. So, where have all those funds that hailed upon the coup authority in Egypt gone?

Away from the Rafale fighter jets and the naval deals, and while those displaced by the autumn rains remain stranded in the open, the Egyptian military establishment is delivering glad tidings of the “Majesty” project in the field of tourism.

According to yesterday’s Egyptian papers, Major General Kamil Al-Wazir, head of the Armed Forces Engineering Commission, announced the implementation of the Majesty International City Project with the aim reviving the tourism industry. The project is to be executed at an altitude of 700 metres above sea level over an area of about 17,000 feddans ((71.4 square kilometres). The city includes the King Abdallah University, an international medical centre, a zone for international races in addition to housing and service industries.

The spokesman did not miss the opportunity to refer to the desire of “his majesty” who is sitting in the driving seat at the helm of the political establishment and to his constant insistence that the first landmarks of the Majesty International City Project in the Red Sea should appear on 6 August 2016, on the same day as the planned inaugurating the new Suez Canal.

Once more, the comparison is self-imposing: which is more pressing: spending on what may provide the Egyptian citizen with life at its minimum or meeting the wishes of “his majesty” in implementing projects resembling cinematic special effects that drain the average Egyptian citizen leaves them naked under the mercy of mother nature while doing nothing else apart from fulfilling the ambitions of the status quo in capturing big headlines and resonating slogans which are hollow?

Which is more important: spending on providing citizens with health care, food, education and the right to life or spending on the implementation of illusory projects the entire objective of which is the accomplishment of some fake personal glory for someone obsessed with the illusions of leadership and achievement?

And where is the courtesy or the appropriateness in announcing a project with such a magnitude in favour of the military establishment while there are still those who have to go back home swimming in the swamps caused by the rainfall and while there are those who cannot even find their homes or end up finding them missing loved ones, a son or a daughter or a spouse or a father who fell victim to the floods and lost their lives having been swept away?

Once more they insist on blemishing the Egyptian military image by soaking it in “business” and commerce. They insist on giving the people the impression that this is a “contracting army” instead of a “resisting army”. They do so repeatedly as they drag the army into the project of reviving tourism as if it were a trading corporation. They are not even content with what is going on whereby military personnel work in grocery shops, in fuel stations and in weddings halls with the effect of downgrading the value of soldiers on the one hand and provoking anger and bitter hatred on the other as a consequence of the army’s hegemony of all aspects of civilian life: in commerce, in agriculture, in tourism and in politics.

Consequently, the citizen feels he is nothing but a customer in a mega military mall without the right to raise issues, discuss or protest against any product or commodity, for whoever does their fate is known; they join the more than 50,000 prisoners and detainees.

We have ended up in a situation where a citizen may be prosecuted for treason and insulting the army if he protests against the price of a pack of cigarettes or a can of fizzy drink in a supermarket run by the armed forces.

For Egypt’s sake go back to your barracks. And for the sake of military history leave the kiosks, the grocery shops and the tourist villages to their own folk.

Translated from Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, 28 October 2015

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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